Like everyone who cares about live performance, we at Exeunt have spent the last six months scrolling through the various stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression – and each time we reach acceptance, a new government decision or redundancy announcement puts us back at square one.
Overnight in March, we were untethered from the theatre calendar. We went from a regimented structure of press nights and embargoes into a mysterious, hard-to-navigate hinterland where online performances would pop up and disappear with little warning. A lot of our income vanished too – no live theatre means no advertisers, so we lost over half our revenue overnight. But thanks to the brilliant people who support us through the Friends Scheme, we’ve been able to keep going, in reduced but committed style.
We’ve found new ways of reviewing; first, with Greyscale’s Imaginary Review series, then with responses to NT at Home and livestream performances, and most recently with the Redux Reviews strand, which gets writers to explore how productions shift on their journey from stage to screen.
We’ve hosted conversations between artists and theatremakers, about where theatre is and where it’s going – like Natasha Tripney’s series of European Theatre dialogues, and conversation about the interactions between theatre and the community.
And we’ve made space to express some of the political anger and the sense of deep loss that people are feeling right now; like Atri Banerjee’s series of imagined letters to Oliver Dowden, or Annie Saunders’ A Case for Liveness.
So, what now? Also like a lot of people who work in theatre, we’re a bit burnt out. So we’re taking a little break over the next couple of weeks. We’re going to finish our new zine and get it sent out to Friends, along with a lovingly designed, theatre-themed face mask. We’ll make a plan of action for our Autumn coverage, so we can find exciting new ways of talking about the in-person, online and hybrid performances that will come our way. And we’ll try to secure funding so that we enter this new world on the most solid footing we can, with a busy slate of reviews, interviews, experiments, and new voices. Thanks for reading, and we can’t wait to see you again soon.